La Crosse Showcase: the La Crosse Loggers

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Jack O'Donnell, Multimedia Editor

A summer in La Crosse is full of activities for all members of the community to enjoy, the bluffs and the miles of hiking trails connected to them, the variety of restaurants that can satisfy any appetite, or relaxing at Pettibone beach. One atmosphere that is unlike the rest in La Crosse is attending La Crosse Loggers games.

The La Crosse Loggers are a baseball team that competes in the Northwoods League (NWL). The NWL is a summer college league that allows players from all across the country to compete during the months that their collegiate season is off. In order to compete for the NWL you must have National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Loggers this year had players from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL) to players competing from University of Hawaii. The Loggers are one of 22 teams that compete in the NWL.

The NWL’s mission is to provide the finest environment for the development of collegiate baseball players. There are many opportunities available for these college athletes to showcase their skills to major league teams. It is a large number of games that takes place in a short amount of time. 72 games are played across just over three months.

The Loggers play their home games on the north side of La Crosse at Copeland Park. The ballpark is nicknamed the “Lumberyard”. Former Wisconsin State Senator Dan Kapanke owns the team and you can sometimes see him selling peanuts and cracker jacks during the loggers home games.

This past summer The Loggers celebrated their 20th year of operation. The team has been competing since 2003 and have had many people attend the games. In 2009 alone their were over 111,000 people that visited “The Lumberyard”. The Loggers ballpark can hold just over 2,000 people.

The fan experience is what makes loggers games a unique experience in La Crosse. With fan games taking place in between each inning and loads of food and beverage options with even deals on the food and beverages on how certain players perform during the game. Throughout the year the loggers also put on a firework show after games. Copeland park also hosts a variety of concerts when The Loggers are playing away games.

The Loggers currently have 10 active players in Major League Baseball (MLB) with 26 players all time. They have also had 199 total players in professional baseball with 42 active players playing across various leagues around the world. The two most well known Loggers Alum are pitchers Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. Scherzer is an eight time all star, has won the C.Y. Young Award (given to the MLB’s best pitcher) three times and has won a World Series. Scherzer currently pitches for the New York Mets. He pitched for the loggers during the 2004 season. Sale pitched for the Loggers during the 2008 season and is a seven-time all star and has lead the MLB in strikeouts twice in his career.

Another notable alumni for the La Crosse Loggers is Infielder Matt Chapman. Chapman is a one time all-star and a three time Gold Glove award winner which is given to the best defenders at each position in each league. This past MLB draft five loggers alum were selected.

If you are ever to stay in La Crosse during the summer months make sure you check out The Loggers games at Copeland Park with loads of deals and good food options The Loggers have a place for everybody. Check out their website for more information The Loggers.